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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Two Shooters in Philadelphia Now in Police Custody; President Obama Discusses NSA Surveillance Program; Alleged Newtown Charity Scammer Robbie Bruce Sought; California Facing Worst Drought in a Century; Kentucky Children's Hospital Reopening; Brian Boitano On Coming Out And Going To Sochi; Family Credits Fish Oil With Healing Teen's Badly Injured Brain; List Of Smoking Related Illnesses Grows; Starbucks Updates App Over Security Concerns
Aired January 17, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Once again gun shots ring out at school and there's breaking news in the investigation. We'll take you to Philadelphia where a second person is now in custody.
Also tonight, President Obama putting limits on NSA surveillance while pretty stake game from all sides. We have got two, the reporter who published the Snowden leaks and a former top adviser to President Bush who is applauding President Obama this time.
And later, can an everyday household supplement bring the near dead back to life? This is an extraordinary story. Dr. Sanjay Gupta's remarkable investigation of the potential power of fish oil, omega 3.
We begin tonight with breaking news. Late development in the school shooting that sent two students in Philadelphia's Delaware Valley Charter high school to the hospital.
Jason Carroll is putting the pieces together. He joins us now.
So, Jason, what is the latest?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have two students who are now in the custody at this point. A 16-year-old student and a 17-year-old student, Anderson. That 16-year-old student actually turned himself in just about an hour ago. That's what we're being told by police. The 17-year-old was arrested at his home in south Philadelphia, shortly after the shooting. And Anderson, they were able to find him by looking at surveillance tape from the gym. That is where the shooting actually took place.
Police tell us from looking at the tape, it's unclear if the shooting was intentional, or if it was accidental. In any case, administrators were able to look at the tape. They were able to identify the 17- year-old student. They pulled his address. They dispatched police out to his house. They were able to make that arrest. What they've been unable to do at this point, Anderson, is find the handgun that was used in the shooting, whether it be intentional or accidental.
COOPER: So, is there any indication of a motive here?
CARROLL: You know, that's a good question. And you know, it is still early on in the investigation. Police are still trying to determine what the motive was, if any, if it was intentional, if there was a motive.
But what we can say is two students were injured during the shooting, whether it be accidental or intentional. Two 15-year-olds, a 15-year old a boy and a 15-year-old girl. But we're told their injuries were not life-threatening. In fact, the 15-year-old girl has already been released. We are told at the set that the other 15-year-old boy, that he's in stable condition.
COOPER: And two people arrested. Was it two alleged shooters or just one handgun, do we know?
CARROLL: Again, they're trying to piece this all together. When I asked police about that, they said that, you know, it's possible that perhaps one of the other suspects was looking at the gun, maybe they were playing with the gun. That's pure speculation from detectives at this point.
Two in custody at this point. Police are actually looking for a third. I'm told the third suspect is also a 16-year-old male. They know exactly who he is. They know where he lives and at this point police are looking for him.
COOPER: All right, Jason, appreciate the update. Thanks.
Now, big moment at a battle in how much the government should keep tabs on us in the name of making things safer for everyone. That fight which has been going on since John Adams was president intensified with the Edward Snowden leaks. Since then, we have seen one revelation out for another -- congressional hearings, blue ribbon panels and more.
Today, we watch President Obama conducted the kind of public seminar on both the drawback of the surveillance state, but what he said is the need for it.
Joining us with the true politics on what the president said and the changes he wants to make is chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.
So, what was the president's main message today?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, this was a pretty remarkable speech. He's speaking so openly, so publicly about this most secret of aspects of our most secretive intelligence programs. But his was in effect, I hear you. I understand why there are questions about this. And that he has a trust deficit both in the states and overseas. And he said this that really goes to the core of what it means to be America. Here's how he described it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you cut through the noise, what's really at stake is how we remain true to who we are in a world that is remaking itself at dizzying speed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Now, he did say though that there are things he's not going to apologize for. That he really does believe that there's reason to have these programs to keep Americans safer. And overseas, he said that just because America has a greater capability, doesn't mean we're going to, in his words, unilaterally disarm when it comes to spying overseas because everyone does. He did say though, he's not going to spy on the leaders of our closest allies anymore.
COOPER: I think his critics say this is PR. How much change is he actually calling for?
SCIUTTO: I mean, there are some real, substantial changes. One is, the NSA is going to need judicial review when it searches that massive phone metadata. That's a big change. That is a big step forward.
But as far as that mass of metadata, it's still going to exist somewhere, and the government will still going to want to search that to try to find patterns to prevent terror attacks. Now, he left open a very big question as to where that data will live. He said he doesn't want it to live in government hands, if that creates the potential for abuse. But hasn't figured out where it's going to be. You know, it could be with the telephone companies. It could be able with a third party. They even raised the possibility as they develop new capabilities, maybe they won't need to access that data in the same way. That's a big open way, though.
In the meantime, it's going to continue, but at least with more safe guards.
COOPER: Yes. This obviously been precipitated by what Edward Snowden did. What did the president say about him today? Any change with the administration's attitude toward him?
SCIUTTO: No. He said no. He said he's still, in effect, considers him a criminal. But it's incredible, Anderson, and we've been talking about this all day. This speech would not have happened without Edward Snowden, this debate, and arguably some of these changes would not have happened without Edward Snowden. In that sense, victory for that, you know, little known NSA, you know, programmer who bursts on to the scene last year.
COOPER: All right, Jim, appreciate the update. Thanks.
Let's dig deeper now with Glenn Greenwald. He is reporting from "the Guardian" paper especially the Edward Snowden leaks, in many ways, brought this story front and center. He's the author of the upcoming books, "no place to hide, Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. surveillance state." Also Andy Card, who is president of the creation of some of these surveillance programs as the chief of staff in George W. Bush administration. Glenn, do you believe the president went far enough in what he said today?
GLENN GREENWALD, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: No, not remotely. I mean, there were a few proposals that I think are positive steps in the right directions. But the crux of NSA controversy which is why should the communications data of hundreds of millions, in fact, billions of people every day be collected and stored and have the potential to be monitored and analyzed has really been left unanswered by the president by his speech. That's an activity that the NSA will continue even with all the proposals are implemented.
COOPER: Mr. Card, what did you make of what the president said today? Because a lot of these surveillance measures were started on your watch under the Bush administration.
ANDY CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I want to see if the president have all the tools he need to protect the country. So, I think that President Obama actually did a courageous thing today. I'm not sure that I agree with every aspect of his recommendation and the kind of dodge on one particular challenges when you stored the data.
But I think, in basic, he protected the ability for a president to have this tool to make important decisions about protecting America. I do not see it as a potential for abuse. If you store the data in the right place, and you make sure that people who have access to the data have access only for that reason of protecting the country. I don't want it to be used to spy on American citizens. I do think it's important that the president have the ability to understand the nature of communication within the terrorist networks and have that tool available so that he can prevent an attack.
COOPER: Glenn, what about that?
GREENWALD: Andy Card, of all people saying that there's really no reason to worry about abuse, given that the administration of which he was a part, got caught breaking the law, which the "New York times" won a Pulitzer prize for disclosing, reports that his administration was spying on the telephone calls of Americans without the warrants required. And of course, we now had the metadata program which a federal judge appointed by President Bush said it was a profound violation of the fourth amendment and even the president's own hand- picked panel said this metadata program doesn't play any sort of role at all in disrupting terrorist plots.
It is domestic spying. It is the government collection a list of all the people who were communicating, how long we communicate, who we call, and anybody who thinks that isn't spying or an invasion of privacy should just post on the internet every month the list of the people whom they are communicating. Nobody would do that precisely because it is such an invasion of privacy. And it's time that program stopped.
COOPER: Andy, I want to hear your respond. CARD: Your comments are a bit naive because it's not the way reality is really functioning. There was no interest in spying on American citizens. There was an interest in collecting communications, using an algorithm to understand what kind of communication and if there was a better way to protect America.
COOPER: But Andy, even under -- I mean, it was controversial even back with the Bush administration, the surveillance measures that you -- I mean, there was this issue of you and White House council Alberto Gonzalez were accused by then attorney general John Ashcroft number two, the guy is now director of the FBI, of trying to get the attorney general to reauthorize certain measures while he was in the hospital. He refused to do so. So even back then among Republicans there was concern about the --
CARD: That whole story -- this program did not become declassified until December 21st of last year. So December 21st, 2013. I have not spoken about that incident at the hospital. There was no effort to get John Ashcroft to sign something over his objection. Soon as we learned that he was not the attorney general, we turned and left.
But beyond that, I'm going to say the concerns that were raised were all addressed by the president and there was no effort to have everybody resign at the justice department. So this is something that has worked very, very well. We've learned as we've done it. It is controversial. I have more confidence in it the government doing the right thing than those who are afraid that it will do the wrong thing.
COOPER: Glenn, one ever the recent rulings in a federal court, the judge said that the metadata program might have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks if they had interpreted a call from the United States to an Al Qaeda safe house in Yemen. I knew there was a report that pushed back on the effectiveness of the whole program, but at least as far as the courts are concerned it it's unclear if these programs have helped the United States or not. You say they haven't, but this judge thinks otherwise.
GREENWALD: The preponderance of the evidence, including from Judge Leon and who again is the right-wing judge appointed by the Bush administration. He said that the kept asking the justice department for evidence. That these programs hearing, I mean, they could provide no evidence. The White House commission filled with loyalists of the national security state, including a former direct deputy director of the CIA, Mike Morrell said the same thing. That there's no evidence that this program is necessary to stop terrorism.
There was one federal judge who accepted the government's claim that it could have helped stop 9/11. But two leading Al Qaeda experts in the last three weeks, Anderson, Peter Bergen, who is I believe an analyst at CNN, and Lawrence Wright, who wrote the definitive book on Al Qaeda, and a New Yorker said those claims are absurd. That the 9/11 commission made clear that the U.S. government had the in its possession what it would have needed to know about the 9/11 attack. Of course, President Bush famously got a memo saying bin Laden intense to strike within in the United States. But they had so much data about people they are spying on that they couldn't connect the dots and even know what they had. And the solution was to spy on even more people, to gather even more evidence. Instead of focusing on terrorists to collect data indiscriminately about billions of people everyday around the world. And that actually makes it harder to detect terrorist plots than if you're focused on actually terrorists which is let shows these programs actually don't help stop terrorism as courts and panel and experts of all sides.
CARD: How I wish you could sit in a seat to do the job of protecting the country. The president has a tough job. I want to help the president do his job protecting the country. The legislative branch acts for the future. Judges act by reflecting on the past. The president has to deal with the reality of today. And I watch presidents do that. I have confidence they can do a good job and this is a valuable tool for them to protect the country.
COOPER: Mr. Cord, if the president --
GREENWALD: The oath that the president takes when they get inaugurated is to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. one part of which is the fourth amendment that says that we are suppose to be safe from being search and seize by the government without probable cause and not having all of our communications data, collected, monitored and analyzed even though there is no evidence of wrongdoing. That's the responsibility and the oath of the president according to the constitution.
CARD: And that's why I would not like to see this migrate to the domestic side. I don't want it migrating to the domestic side.
COOPER: Mr. Cord, I got to ask you though. The president would not have been making comments today had Edward Snowden not revealed what he so far revealed to Glenn Greenwald and others. Do you believe Snowden is a traitor? Do you believe he should face prison time?
CARD: I believe that he is a criminal. I believe that he violated his oath of office. He violated his security clearances. And he should be held accountable for that. And I think his acts were not good for the country, not good for our efforts to protect the country and bring diplomacy to the point it can help to mitigate problems that might effect on our national security.
COOPER: All right, Andy Cord, I appreciate your time. Glenn Greenwald as well. Thank you.
GREENWALD: Thank you.
CARD: Thank you.
COOPER: Let's hear what you think. Let's talk about it on Twitter @andersoncooper. Tweet me using #ac360.
Coming up next, earlier this week, told you about a charity that raised money for Newtown victims. And this guy, Robbie Bruce, one of the charity's founders who loaned with more than $70,000 of the charity's money. He just up and vanished and disappeared.
Our Drew Griffin just learned some new details about Mr. Bruce and where he actually might be. We will tell you that coming up.
Also, a hospital plans to reopen the surgical unit where five children died without explaining to regulators or anyone what different now or what went wrong before. When you find out why, you'll be glad we're keeping them honest tonight.
COOPER: More breaking news, this time in the search for alleged Newtown charity scammer, Robbie Bruce. This guy, that is him. He's suspected of making off with $73,000 which was donated to help the families at the Sandy Hook shooting victims. He's the founder of a group called 26-426, a foundation that held an impromptu a marathon, 26 miles, for the 26 victims just a week after the massacre. That event raised $30,000. Money that was delivered to Newtown to fund a youth center. After the raise, though, the charity kept raising money, $73,000 in all. And that's now unaccounted for, until now, so is this guy, Robbie Bruce.
Drew Griffin has been on this from the beginning. He joins us now by phone.
Drew, what have you learned?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Tonight, we've heard from an attorney, a federal criminal defense attorney based in Nashville, Anderson, who claimed to represent Robbie Bruce, and he is telling CNN, that, quote, "we have already been in touch with the authorities, we'll cooperate fully with the inquiries made by the state of Tennessee and that all of our communications will be with the appropriate agencies." This is from an attorney named Jonathan Farmer.
He did not say where Robbie Bruce is. Of course as we've been reporting on your show, the FBI, attorneys general in Tennessee and Connecticut, as well as the district attorney in Nashville, have been looking for Robbie Bruce for the better part of this last week. Once the charity co-founder told us she couldn't account for $70,000 that appears to be missing at this point.
COOPER: And, I mean, in the grand scheme of things, $70,0000, it's not, you know, it is not millions of dollars that some charities have defrauded people of, but $70,000, I mean, we talked to the family -- you know, one family of a woman who was killed in Sandy Hook, one of the teachers, who said this man came to their house, this man, you know, befriended them. It was the Soto family. He insinuated his way into their lives.
GRIFFIN: Well, the crime of this and I think it was articulated well by the attorney general of Tennessee is so poignant to the Sandy Hook victims' families in particular. They have been the victims, you might say, the second victims of what is these online scammers who seem to be raising money in their victims' names. And it really is bothersome to those families. The Connecticut attorney general is very serious about prosecuting these whether or not it's a large dollar amount or not. And as you said, this Robbie Bruce, who befriended and was trusted by the families, seems at this point at least to have no explanation for why $70,000 in donated money, which was intended for the sandy hook victims' families is missing.
COOPER: Yes. All right, Drew, we will continue to follow. Thanks, Drew.
Now to California who were just facing worst drought in a century. Dry conditions that are turning much to golden state into a fire hazard. That means nobody is pretending that the massive wild fire, now about one-third contain outside Los Angeles would be the last. More than 1,800 acres burned, several thousand people evacuated. Some are retuning today just to complete devastation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What are we looking at here?
ALEX LARSEN, LOST ALMOST EVERYTHING IN WILDFIRE: We are looking at -- these are some boxes. That is a two-story building that has collapsed due to the roof -- the wood in the floor burning through. And then the weight of the structure collapsing, right? So, everything that burned from underneath just dropped straight down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Imagine returning home to that. That was Kyung Lah he was talking to. She joins us now.
So, I understand there's new information tonight. What are you learning?
LAH: It's a news conference that's happening right now. The firefighters updating reporters on exactly what they're dealing with. They're saying they're making progress. Things have cooled down a little bit. The containment remains the same, 30 percent. Acreage was bumped up as little bit to 1,860 acres. So, slightly larger than what was earlier reported in the day. But as far as the number of structures lost, that remains the same, Anderson.
This is actually one of them. A total of five homes were burned down. This was a two-story area, historic mansion was broken up into several different apartments. You can see that there's part of a kitchen, someone's belongings, the bath. And this is really the power and devastation of a fire. This went up very, very quickly. I spoke with that resident who said he was really just simply happy to get out with his life because the fire, Anderson, was simply that hot.
COOPER: And likely not to be last. I mean, in these drought conditions in California are just terrible.
LAH: Terrible. And cal fire said just in the last two weeks, they normally deal with about 25 fires. They've dealt with almost 150. So, it is much higher than normal. And if you look at the hillside, case in point, you see how brown that is. That's not charred hillside. It's golden, it's sunset here. But that's normally, this time of the year, green. It's brown because there has been virtually no rain this winter.
In 2013, Los Angeles normally gets 14 inches. Los Angeles only got three. And so, what that means for any vegetation here, look, it turns right into dust. And that's all over the state of California, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.
Now "Keeping Them Honest." A story that is really hits especially hard because it involves the loss, the possibly avoidable loss of very young lives. Babies who went into a Lexington, Kentucky hospital for surgery that well, by no mean, risk free was at this hospital, especially dead-like. So much so that the hospital stopped doing heart surgery entirely.
Now a year later, management says they plan to start operating again. But the way things work is they can do that without running their plan past anyone or even saying what went wrong in the first place.
Our Elizabeth Cohen tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened to these babies, behind the walls of Kentucky children's hospital?
Jason Moore was the first to die, then Katlyn Allen, then Mason Hall, then Connor Wilson, then Ray Shaun Lewis Smith.
JOEQUETTA LEWIS, SON, RYAN SHAUN DIED: It 53 days I got to hold him. And then the next day he was gone.
SARAH MOORE, SON JASON DIED: He was born and looked as healthy as any of my other children. Then three weeks later, I was burying him.
COHEN: Five babies, all dead after having heart surgery at Kentucky Children's hospital . Surgeries that naturally babies usually survive.
Did you ever get answers about your son's death?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. And we're still searching. We asked and asked and asked.
COHEN: It's awful to lose a baby anytime. Does it make it even harder when you're never told why?
LEWIS: Something happened. Can't nobody give me no answers.
COHEN: The babies all died within 11 months. Shortly after the fifth baby died in 2012, the hospital decided to stop heart surgeries, and they put their only pediatric heart surgery on leave. But now, only a little more than a year later, Kentucky Children's says it plans to start doing heart surgeries again. Shockingly, it seems no medical governing body is required to sign off on the hospital's decision to reopen the troubled unit.
DR. MICHAEL KARPF, EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE, KENTUCKY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: The only person, they only say permission from me.
COHEN: That's Dr. Michael Karpf, the executive in charge of Kentucky Children's Hospital. Last May, he told us he commissioned an internal report on the heart surgery program. These parents hoped that report would give them answers.
But here it is, 102 pages long, and it doesn't explain why the babies died. In fact, it doesn't even acknowledge the babies died at all.
KEVIN ALLEN, DAUGHTER KATLYN DIED: How do you know when the problems have been fixed when they're not identified? I mean, they can say they fixed them. But is an internal review really objective?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I expect nothing more from a health care facility than honest answers and whether it's good or bad, we should know. I mean, that's not too much to ask.
COHEN: Last May, Dr. Karpf told us, parents could rest assured.
And parents should trust you, that you're re-opening and you're going to do a good job?
KARPF: This is America. They have a choice. They can trust us or not trust us. All I can tell them is, I'm not going to reopen until I feel good about it. It's as simple as that.
COHEN: A spokesman for Kentucky Children's declined our request for another interview with Dr. Karpf referring us to their press release about the report. So we went to talk to Dr. Karpf ourselves as he was arriving to speak at a community center.
Can you tell parents why their babies died after having heart surgery at your hospital? Sir, can you give these parents some answer?
KARPF: Unfortunately babies died at children's hospital after heart surgery at other places also.
COHEN: That's true. But other hospitals are far more transparent. They report how many babies die. Kentucky Children's won't say.
Dr. Karpf, can you explain why so many babies died after having heart surgery at your hospital?
KARPF: We explained to you that our mortality fit the national standards.
COHEN: But he's spinning the facts. At his hospital in 2012, after heart surgeries, children were dying at an alarming rate of 7.1 percent. That's more than double the national average of 3.2 percent. And when it comes to how well his hospital performed specific heart surgeries on children, Dr. Karpf won't say. At other hospitals, you can find that detailed information right on their websites.
These parents want an explanation and your report doesn't give an explanation.
They'll be taking in patients again. How does that feel?
SHANNON HALL, SON, MASON DIED: It's scary. It's scary. Just because we don't have answers.
LEWIS: It really hurts they're going to open this program back up. I'm very scared for the kids. I don't want no body to have to go through this again.
COHEN: What are you worried could happen?
MOORE: The same thing that happened to my baby. The same thing that happened to their babies. I never brought my child home. He never left the hospital. He was three weeks old.
COHEN: Kentucky Children's Hospital says it will do things differently this time. For starters, the original heart surgeon who was put on leave eventually left. So the hospital plans on hiring a new heart surgeon. It also plans on creating a dedicated intensive care unit just for heart patients. And it's considering partnering with another hospital for pediatric heart surgeries. And Kentucky Children's says they plan to no longer perform the most difficult types of congenital heart surgeries.
But that doesn't satisfy these parents, who are left mourning their children, tortured for more than a year now by unanswered questions.
MOORE: I don't think it gets any easier, ever. And that it ever will. I've been told my entire life that time heals everything. I don't believe that. I still miss my baby every day.
COOPER: It's heart breaking.
Elizabeth Cohen joins me now.
So, how come the program can reopen without any external oversight?
COHEN: You know what, Anderson, they were never cited for anyone for doing anything wrong. The program shut itself down so they can open themselves back up again.
COOPER: It seemed like they had a rough time with these surgeries before. Have they said why they want to start doing them again?
COHEN: Yes, Dr. Karpf told us, look. It would create a hardship for our community if we didn't offer these surgeries. Others people say, wait a minute, there are other hospital within, you know, not very far away. They could go to those other hospitals. They think the hospital wants to do them again because these are very lucrative surgeries. They reimburse at very high rates and children often need many of them. For example, Ray Shaun Lewis Smith who we met on the piece, and you know, in his short life, he had ten surgeries. So these children represent a lot of money to hospitals. COOPER: Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
As always, you can find more on the stories and others at CNN.com.
Just ahead tonight, today, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, says gays are welcome in the Olympics to Sochi and should feel safe. How does that stack up to the facts? And also, you might be surprised by what else he said.
Also tonight, a teenager's remarkable recovery. His family says massive dosage of fish oil omega 3 helped heal their son's badly injured brain. Well, fish oil with omega w, may be able to do for your brain. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports ahead.
COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report now, the Winter Olympics obviously are three weeks away. Today, Russia's President Vladimir Putin put the word out that gay visitors have nothing to fear in Sochi as long as they stay away from kids. He actually said that, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translation): We do not ban anyone or anything. We don't detain people on the street. We don't hold anyone responsible for those relations, unlike a lot of other countries in the world. That's why you can feel free, relaxed, but leave children in peace, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Leave children in peace. Putin was meeting with a group of Olympic volunteers when he made those remarks. His intimation that gays and lesbians would prey on children isn't what many would call positive outreach to the gay community after his parliament last year passed a ban against what they called the homosexual propaganda.
As for the picture he paints at how Russia's treat gays is that gays can feel free and relaxed. I believe Mr. Putin's words were really nothing could be further from the truth. Anti-gay attacks are actually on the rise in Russia. Look what happened to these women who kissed in protest of Russia's treatment of gays.
Human rights groups say those speaking out for gay rights are being routinely beaten as police look on or sometimes by the police themselves. CNN's Phil Black recently reported on a vigilante groups using the internet in Russia to meet and ambush gay men, and post videos online. They call it going on safari.
This is one video, a man's hair is shaved and a rainbow is painted on his skull. Later he's made to drink what he told is urine. This terrified man begs for mercy and is told he has a choice he can lose an eye or be sexually assaulted with a large fork.
Russia's actual treatment of gays has prompted some to call for a boycott of the Sochi games. Olympic figure skating champion, Brian Boitano is going to Sochi as part of the U.S. delegation. He announced that he was gay publicly in December days after being named in the delegation.
I spoke to him earlier before Vladimir Putin made his latest remarks.
COOPER: Explain your process on this because you didn't know who was going to be on this committee. You didn't know who is going to be on the delegation. When did you decide to make a statement?
BRIAN BOITANO, FORMER U.S. OLYMPIC FIGURE SKATING GOLD MEDALLIST: I saw, you Know, the other people that were named to the delegation, Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cayhow, both of whom are openly gay. And I also read the message that President Obama was planning on sending with the delegation, that of tolerance and diversity.
And I was like, wow, I believe in this message, but I knew at that point, I think I need to make a decision. I mean, I can either stay the private guy that I've always been or I can stand with these other people and be open about my private life and I decided to make the statement.
COOPER: There are some in the gay community, some not in the gay community, who believe there should be a boycott of the Olympics or that athletes should carry a rainbow flag or a pin or make some sort of a statement. Where do you come out on this?
BOITANO: We should not have boycotted. Athletes spend their entire life dreaming about representing our countries in the Olympics, they put in a lot of work. I think there's their job, when they go to the Olympics, they are there to represent our country and fulfill their dream. I mean, that's their dream. And also do the best job that they can and represent our country in that way.
That's why I think delegations like this are important. It gives them they can focus on what they're doing and then the other people can step in and basically make statements by just getting off the plane, who we are is making a statement.
COOPER: So you don't see yourself making any kind of an actual statement. You feel just by being there as an openly, proud gay man, that's statement enough?
BOITANO: I do. I don't have any plans to host any rallies or anything like that. I feel that it is making plenty of statement of being open and being there and I'll talk about myself when I go over there, if people ask me questions, I will. But you also have to know that you're a visitor in someone's country and you have to have respect for that.
COOPER: Do you feel different now having made the statement? I mean, does it feel like walking into a room and knowing, all right, everybody knows for sure?
BOITANO: I don't know. It's weird because it's different situation. It's funny, because I'm a figure skater. So a lot of people presume that figure skaters are gay. The interesting thing was growing up in figure skating where it really isn't what people presume it is. And it's mostly straight men that you're competing against, and you're the one gay kid in the dressing room. And it's an awkward situation.
It's not at all what people think it is and it's in fact it's a lot of the opposite stuff, but I feel like this is a really great opportunity. I feel like now as time goes on, I'm like, wow, this is really a great message to send and I'm really proud of the message that I'm going to send when I go over on the delegation.
So that right now, it's so new and fresh to me, whom I don't really know how I feel. But I'm sort of figuring it out. And the pride word comes to my mind in that I'm standing up for tolerance and diversity.
COOPER: Brian, thank you very much.
BOITANO: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Just ahead, doctors told his parents that he would not survive after a hit and run left him clinging to life. They didn't give up. Now they credit massive doses of fish oil, Omega-3, for healing his badly injured brain. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that and what Omega-3 may be able to do for everyone's brain out there.
Plus, new details tonight about how the pilots of that Southwest jet ended up landing at the wrong airport.
COOPER: When someone you love is lying in a hospital bed hooked up to machines, unable to speak and unable to breathe on their own, you sometimes take hope wherever you can find it. Sometimes, such as in the case of this 13-year-old, Jahi McMath, declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy, that hope is pretty hard to find.
In that case, and the case of Marlice Munoz, and all 50 states in fact, brain death really does mean dead. However, in some instances, a brain that's not dead, but very badly hurt, can not only survive, but sometimes recover almost completely.
The challenge is figuring out what will help it heal? For a California family, finding the answer was non-negotiable, where their search took them, a complete surprise. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has their story.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grant Virgin's family knew only a few details about his accident. A white car, a hit and run, a teenager airlifted from a bloody scene nearly dead. They rushed to the hospital to find out if he was still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a tough scene when we got there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The doctor had a really, really bad look on his face.
GUPTA: That look was a reflection of Grant's injuries. They were staggering. His E.R. doctor told Grant's family to let him go.
J.J. VIRGIN, GRANT VIRGIN'S MOTHER: The fact that this doctor wasn't fighting for his life just blew my mind. He's not dead yet. Why would you just, as a parent, how could you ever let go. Not knowing that you hadn't done every single possible thing that you could for your son?
GUPTA: Doing every single possible thing was going to take Grant's family on a wild journey, full of twists and turns, and some unconventional therapies. Two weeks after his accident, after several operations, Grant was in a coma. His heart was OK. His brain was not.
VIRGIN: The doctor told me, she goes, OK, now we wait. Surely there's something we could do. She goes, no, nothing we can do, just wait. The brain has its own time schedule.
GUPTA: In what would become a theme, impatient? Grant's family swept aside that doctor's advice. First they tried progesterone, that's a hormone that according to early studies may reduce inflammation in the brain. Soon afterward, his family says Grant began to speak. Then Grant's mother got an e-mail with a link to this story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never would have come out of a coma if it hadn't been for the use of Omega 3's.
GUPTA: The CNN story was about high dose Omega 3's, found in fish oil, and how it may have played a role in healing role in cases of traumatic brain injuries. The first time this had been done, 2006, after a mining explosion. Twelve miners died. Only one, Randy McCloy survived, but his brain was badly damaged.
His team of doctors, including Barry Seers, figured this. About 30 percent of the brain is composed of Omega 3 fatty acids. Giving McCloy a large dose of fish oil, which is rich in those fatty acids might restore function.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'd just like to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers.
GUPTA: After the fish oil, McCloy made a dramatic, full recovery. The science is not clear. There have been no large studies and it didn't always seem to work. But despite that, Grant Virgin's family, a combination of desperate and determined, decided to give it a try.
VIRGIN: I don't want to wait 20 years, while they do a bunch more studies to prove it really works. I don't need that.
GUPTA: Grant was given 20 grams of fish oil per day through his feeding tube, even more than Randy McCloy got. In December of 2012, nine weeks after his accident and only two days after starting high dose fish oil therapy, Grant Virgin made a phone call.
VIRGIN: It was unbelievable, a couple days into giving him the fish oil, he now is talking in sentences.
GUPTA: In time, grant became more animated and soon, he was walking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Starting with January.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: January, February --
GUPTA: Here is Grant, a year after nearly dying, a year after his family was told to let him go.
GRANT VIRGIN, SURVIVED TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY: Grant Virgin, I'm 17. At some point, I'm going to be 18.
GUPTA: He is doing everything doctors said he wouldn't.
COOPER: It's incredible. As Sanjay reported, so far there are no large-scale studies on the effectiveness of Omega 3, but trials are imminent. A lot of people will be watching for results. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now.
Sanjay, this is such an incredible story. How is Grant doing today?
GUPTA: You know, just about everything that they told him. The doctors told his family that he wouldn't be able to do, he's now doing. It's extraordinary and again, the E.R. doctors had told his family to let him go. He's now running, he's speaking. He's made leaps and bounds above obviously where he was just even a few months ago.
COOPER: Do scientists or doctors know exactly what effect omega 3's have on the brain?
GUPTA: They have a pretty good idea. We've got a lot of research into this. I've talked to some scientists at the NIH. There's been some evidence that Omega 3's in high doses can help prevent cells in the brain from dying. When you have a brain injury like this, you're building pressure in the brain. That pressure can start to kill brain cells. That's one of the big concerns.
So it can prevent cells from dying. It can also act as an anti- inflammatory in the brain, very important. Inflammation being a big culprit after a head injury, but I think the most important thing, the thing I found most fascinating was the brain itself, if you look at it, about a third of it is actually made up of substances that are very similar to Omega 3 fatty acids, these long chain fatty acids.
So essentially you're trying to replace the very substance that the brain is comprised of, with this thing that you can take by mouth, or in this case, in this feeding tube.
COOPER: If I'm watching this at home, I think, well, should I just start taking omega 3's in large doses to ward off Alzheimer's or something like that? I mean, should somebody at home take them for anything?
GUPTA: It's interesting. I talk a lot about the idea of supplements overall and you probably know that my stance has been that I really don't take many of them. I don't think that there's a lot of evidence that most of them work. I have a difference stance with regard to Omega 3's for exactly what you're saying. I think short of having a head injury. I think the idea that it actually can provide some benefit, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant benefit to the brain, it's really compelling.
The one down side, I think, is that it can sometimes cause bleeding problems in people. So if you've just had a trauma, you're worried about bleeding in the patient. You got to be a little bit careful with giving the high dose Omega 3 fatty acids, but other than it's a cheap much safer alternative than a lot of other things.
COOPER: So how much would somebody at home take? I mean, how much do you take?
GUPTA: The dose -- you really have two main ingredients. They are known as EPA and DHA. Everyone look at their bottles and see those ingredients. They say that in combination, they should be about a gram for day.
COOPER: And someone should probably check with your doctor before they starting to do this?
GUPTA: If you have a concern about a bleeding disorder in particular, I think that you should definitely be talking to your doctor about this. You don't need a doctor's prescription for it and it's also, you know, they talk about cardiovascular health as well as, brain health potentially being impacted.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay, thank you very much.
GUPTA: You got, Anderson. Thank you.
COOPER: We do want to point out that many proponents of this treatment receive money from fish oil companies. Dr. Sears who treated Randy McCloy sells fish oil. They believe it works and point to patients like McCloy and Grant Virgin. They also of course stand to profit. You can consider all of that.
You can watch Sanjay's full report on Grant Virgin's remarkable recovery this weekend at "SANJAY GUPTA MD," Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern, Sunday 7:30 a.m.
Just ahead, what a new Surgeon General's report has to say about smoking and yes, it's even worse than you thought.
And before you indulge in your caffeinated concoction at Starbucks, you want to make sure your phone is up to date. We'll explain some new security concerns next.
COOPER: Some of the other headlines we are following, Susan Hendricks is here with a "360" Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the NTSB says the pilots of the Southwest Airlines jet that landed at the wrong Missouri airport programmed the right one into their computer, but then they saw the lights of the wrong airport and landed there instead.
A new Surgeon General's report links more ailments to smoking, including diabetes, live cancer, and erectile dysfunction. The report also shows the number of smokers dropping to 18 percent. However, there are more deaths linked to smoking each year.
In New York, authorities are investigating whether arms and legs found along a river are those of an autistic teen who disappeared back in October prompting a city-wide search. The teen's family attorney says the clothing and sneakers do match what he was wearing the day he walked out of his school in the middle of the day without supervision and vanished.
Before you get your next caffeine kick from Starbucks, get the updated iPhone app. They made changes to their digital wallet app, which allows customers to buy items with their smartphones. After it was revealed passwords were open to attack due to unencrypted information. So get the new app.
COOPER: All right, Susan, good to know. The "Ridiculist" is next. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist." Tonight, I want to talk about one of my favorite subjects, professional football. It's obviously a big weekend coming up, the two games what will determine who's in the Super Bowl. I will thank the floor crew to stop snickering. I know a little bit about football. I'm a well-rounded citizen.
On Sunday, the Patriots face off against the Broncos and the 49ers take on the Seahawks. If there's one thing I know about the Seattle Seahawks, is that Russell Wilson can fake the read option, put the ball out and drill it to his tight end on a button hook, regardless if the 49ers are running a zone blitz or using a nickel package. Did I get that right?
I have no idea what that means. I do know the Seahawks have some die- hard fans. They dress up, paint their faces and know how to make some noise. In fact, seismologists say that Seahawks fans shook the ground under Seattle Century Link field so hard last week in the defeat of the New Orleans saints, that it was enough to register a small Earthquake.
There's even a tattoo parlor just north of Seattle that's offering discounted Seahawks tattoos through the playoffs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're getting your team's logo on you for good. Hard to call you a fair-weather fan when you have a tattoo on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I cannot argue with that and I can see the appeal of getting a tattoo of your favorite team logo, but there one Seattle fan who is maybe taking it to another level. At the beginning of the season, Tim Conner got a tattoo proclaiming the Seahawks Super Bowl 48 champs before they play the game, before they are even definitely in the game. Tim is, as you might imagine, confident about the Seahawks chances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not crazy at all. There's no tiny little bit of doubt in my head. You wouldn't see a 49er fan doing this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Listen, Tim may not have a doubt in his mind, but the tattoo artist that gave it to him did have a moment of trepidation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, man, people are going to attack you that you're the jinx of the team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, the jinx factor, plus what happens if the Seahawks lose? Remember the guy who got Mitt Romney's campaign logo tattooed on his face before the election even after Romney lost, he said he had no regrets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's something I believe it. A lot of people say, you shed blood for the party, you're a Republican hero. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, yes, except he changed his mind a few heart beats later. He was announcing he was going to have it removed. To tell you the truth, though, I don't the guy with the premature Super Bowl tattoo will go the same route no matter hat happens even if he is counting at Seahawks before they hatch it's always nice ot see permanent optimism on "The Ridiculist."
That does it for us. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.